Babylonian Talmud, Berakhot 43b
1 א
תלמוד בבלי ברכות מג:
2 ב
אל יצא כשהוא מבושם לשוק א"ר אבא בריה דר' חייא בר אבא אמר רבי יוחנן במקום שחשודים על משכב זכור
A man should not go out to the marketplace perfumed. Rabbi Aba, the son of Rabbi Hiyya said in the name of Rabbi Yohanan, [this only applies] in a place where there is fear of “lying with a man.” [Translation by Rabbi Steve Greenberg]
3 ג

Suggested Discussion Questions:

1. This rule cannot be about cross-dressing alone since it locates the prohibition in a market place. We can presume that otherwise, a perfumed male is fine. What does this tell us about the relationship between cross-dressing and sexual adventure?

2. Rabbi Yohanan limits the prohibition further to only those places where there is suspicion of sexual encounter. What do you think is the machloket (disagreement) between these two rabbis?

3. Why the marketplace?

4. We have met R. Yohanan before. (See WWG ch. 6.) He is known as a culturally marked feminized male. How might this personal reality have affected his position on this rule and what does say about his perspective on the relationship between gender and sexuality?

4 ד
Time Period: Rabbinic (Maccabees through the Talmud)